Are you focusing on your market or your marketing?

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It all comes down this: generic marketing (which most lawyers do) vs. marketing that is customized to your target market.

Generic marketing is “one size fits all”. It focuses on the lawyer or firm, not the market or client. Because of that, their marketing tends to produce poorer results because one size does not fit all.

If you handle family law, for example, every service you offer could be (should be) packaged and presented differently for each of the different types of clients you target.

The prosperous professional fighting tooth and nail to modify a visitation order is very different from the millennial who just wants to get things over with.

Your marketing must reflect those differences.

That’s why you need to decide who you are marketing to (and who you are not) and understand what makes them tick.

What do they want? What will get their attention? What will persuade them? What type of lawyer will they relate to?

Study your target market. What are their highest values, most painful problems, and most fervent desires?

When you’ve figured that out, your marketing is much more effective.

You spend less time and less money marketing to them. Your words and examples resonate with them. You get more of them to make an appointment and more to sign up.

Because they see that you understand them.

Generic marketing is simple. But so much less effective. Everyone hears the same message, and most people tune you out.

You have to work harder and spend more time and more money getting your message out into the world. You have to make sure your fees are “competitive” because the clients you’re likely to attract are comparing your “offer” to everyone else’s.

If you want your marketing to be more effective, if you want to get a higher percentage of people saying yes and paying more, don’t focus on your marketing, focus on your market.

As a friend of mine puts it, “Go so deep into a single niche that you know your customers [he advises businesses] better than they know themselves.”

I show you how to do that in my email marketing course

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How to get paid more for your services

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If you want to earn more than other lawyers in your field and do it more consistently and with less effort, I have some advice for you:

Target people with money.

Not the low end of the market. Not the price shoppers. Not merely people with problems you can fix but people with problems you can fix who have the money to pay for the solutions you offer.

Capice?

Hold on. In order to land this type of client, you need to persuade them that you can give them what they want.

What do they want?

They want an expert. A lawyer who specializes in problems like theirs and clients like them.

They’re willing to pay more for that lawyer because they believe a specialist has a higher degree of knowledge and experience and, more than anything else, they want a lawyer they can count on to get the job done.

They want to know that if they hire you, you will take care of the problem, without unnecessary delays or complications.

They’ve buying peace of mind, and they’re willing to pay top dollar for it.

There are many ways to convince these clients you can do the job, but the simplest way is to get referred to them.

The referring party, client or professional, essentially vouches for your expertise and reliability.

You don’t have to persuade the client you can do the job, the referring party does it for you, in great part simply because they are referring you.

So, if I were in your shoes, I’d do what I could to make referrals the core of my marketing.

And, in order to get referrals to clients with money, I’d make sure I got some clients with money and made friends with professionals who represent clients with money, so they can refer their friends and clients to me.

Because you get referrals to clients with money by targeting clients with money.

This will help you get more referrals

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No, really, why should I hire you?

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If a prospective client asks you why they should choose you as their lawyer instead of any other lawyer in your field, what would you say?

Most lawyers would point to their experience and track record. Some will mention well-known clients they represent. Others will point out their positive reviews or testimonials.

And all of that is good.

What’s even better is being able to show prospective clients the added value you bring to your clients that other lawyers don’t offer.

Something that benefits your clients in a material way.

What might that be?

It will be different for different client niches.

Most lawyers don’t target niches. They offer their services to “anyone” with a given legal issue or “anyone” who is interested in a given legal service.

It’s hard to stand out that way.

It’s better to choose a niche market and “specialize” in it.

A niche is defined by industry or culture, type of business or occupation, or other socio-economic or demographic factors. Specializing in a niche means dedicating yourself to it.

Immerse yourself in the niche, study it, and learn everything you can about it. Learn what they do, what they want, their problems, their pains, what’s important to them. Build relationships with the people in that niche and the professionals who advise them.

That’s how you find the added value you can offer prospective clients.

Example time.

Let’s say you choose “start ups” in a certain field as a niche market. You’ll no doubt discover that these companies need investors.

Because you have built relationships with people in that niche, you will have access to investors.

The added value you bring to your clients in this niche is your ability to introduce them to investors.

Your clients benefit when they choose you as their lawyer because you do something for them other lawyers don’t do, or don’t do as well because they don’t specialize in that niche and don’t have the relationships you do.

You also add value to your relationships with the investors and their advisors in the niche, because you’re the lawyer who can bring them the deals they’re looking to invest in.

You build a reputation in that niche which helps you attract more clients.

Choose a niche and dedicate yourself to it. When a prospective client wants to know why they should choose you, you’ll have the perfect answer.

Want help in choosing a niche? Here you go

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Couldn’t have said it better myself

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I read an interview with Promise Tangerman, the founder of a “boutique graphic and web design studio.” The title of the article in Forbescaught my eye: “The key to success according to this tech founder? Stick to your niche”.

I thought that if you don’t want to listen to me when I pound the table about that very subject, maybe you’ll listen to her. 

Here’s an excerpt:

Karin Eldor (the interviewer): “Why is the concept of focusing on a niche so important to you?” 

Tangeman: When your industry feels flooded with other people doing the exact same thing as you, you have to be different in order to stand out, and you have to stand out in order to get the sale. The number one question I get asked on a daily basis is: “How do I get more customers and clients?” That answer is simple: focus on your business and create a niche for yourself.

A niche is when you create a very specific product or service that only appeals to a small group of people. So you’ll create a more focused product, market it to fewer people, and as counterintuitive as it seems, actually make more money.

Eldor: Why do believe creating a niche will help you attract more customers and clients?

Tangeman: For starters, your business will be considered unique, so people will have a reason to talk about you and tell their friends about you. As well, you’ll be viewed as a specialist in the sector of your industry, and therefore you’ll be your specific customer’s first choice. And you’ll have a better, more targeted product, so people will be willing to pay a higher price for it. As a result, you’ll have a higher and faster conversion to sale, because you’ll know exactly where and how to market your product.

Change “product” to services, “customers” to “clients,” “higher prices” to “higher fees” and this could have been written for lawyers. 

So, here I am, standing up and doing the Simon Cowell “slow clap”. Maybe even hitting the golden buzzer. 

Discover
how to choose the right niche for your practice

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Your passion is more valuable than you think

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Following on yesterday’s post about making a career out of your passion (if possible), attorney John R. writes to lament that despite his best efforts, he cannot find a way he can do that with his passions: woodworking and golf.

If you find yourself singing a similar song, I have a suggestion I think you’ll like.

Take one of your passions and make it your target market.

Use your knowledge, experience, and love for the subject, to market your legal services to prospective clients and referral sources who inhabit that market.

I don’t know a lot about woodworking but I’m sure it is composed of a wide variety of individuals and businesses: vendors, machine and tool manufacturers, raw materials suppliers, distributors, and retailers.

People who sell wood furniture and art. People who run conventions, write books and blogs and sell instructional videos.

There are insurance brokers, real estate brokers, accountants, and financial planners, who sell to or advise wood mills, hardware and furniture stores, and others in the chain of distribution.

And many others who share your passion.

It’s a big niche, or rather a collection of related niches, and it’s yours for the taking. Focus your marketing efforts on this niche. No matter what your practice area, there are people in it who need your services or can refer people who do.

Speak and network at their events. Write for their publications. Let them know you’re “one of them”.

Soon, you will dominate that market, or at least carve out (sorry) a large enough chunk to keep you busy many times over.

You may not make your living turning a lathe or sanding shelves but you’ll do the next best thing. You’ll get to spend time talking to and helping other people who share your passion.

This will help you find the right target market for you

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Why you might want to take your grandma to lunch

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Let’s rap about this niche market thing I’m always talking about.

Suppose you’ve looked at a niche market but rejected it because it looks like it’s not lucrative. Let’s use the “senior” market as an example.

Most people consider the senior market to be “price sensitive,” given the preponderance of fixed incomes in that market. If you want to find the best deals on dinner, go where the seniors go. If you want to charge premium fees for your services, seniors aren’t the first demo you think of.

You might want to think again.

Not all seniors live on a fixed income. Many have investments and real property, some have retired from running businesses but still draw an income, some are still running their business, and some are quite wealthy.

These folks may identify as seniors but lack of money isn’t an issue.

Okay, what about a lack of need? Most seniors aren’t as active as they once were, most have already taken care of their estate planning needs, and many have long standing relationships with attorneys and don’t really need you.

Many, but not all.

What if you could identify well-off seniors with unmet legal needs? A niche market within a niche market.

You could own that market.

Seniors get divorced. They get into car accidents. They even commit crimes.

They have tax issues, real estate issues, investment issues, business issues. And more than a few have not yet taken care of their estate planning needs because, you know, 70 is the new 50.

And even if they don’t need you. . .they know a lot of people. They have a lifetime of contacts: family, former co-workers and employees, professionals they have hired, and centers of influence in your niche market and community.

They can send you referrals and they can introduce you to prospective clients and referral sources.

In other words, even if they don’t hire you, their contacts can be very profitable for you.

I’m not trying to get you to choose the (wealthy) senior market as a niche necessarily. I’m simply trying to get you to think outside the box about what makes a viable niche market.

Okay, that’s it for me. I’m off to an early lunch and some networking. I hear Denny’s has a great senior special.

Need help choosing a niche market? Here you go

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How to never run out of ideas to write about

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Think about your target market and answer me a few questions:

  • What is the market’s biggest problem right now? The one that keeps people up at night?
  • What’s the latest news in that market? What are people talking about?
  • Name three websites, podcasts, or newsletters that focus on this market.
  • Who is the top lawyer, CPA, insurance or real estate professional in that market?
  • Name two organizations dedicated to that market that have networking functions in your area.
  • Name three profitable keywords for blog posts, books, or ads for that market.

Okay, that’s enough to make my point, which is that if you can’t answer these questions, you probably don’t know your target market well enough.

Or you don’t have one.

Which is why, when you set out to write an email or article, you “don’t know what to write about”. Which is why you aren’t writing, or if you are, your writing is too general and doesn’t stand out.

If your last blog post or article or email is written to appeal to “anyone,” there’s a good chance it appeals to “no one”.

When you know your target market well, which you must if you want to dominate it, you won’t have that problem. You’ll have plenty of things to write about, specific to that market. In fact, you’ll have so many ideas, your biggest problem will be deciding which one to write about.

Which is a nice problem to have, don’t you think?

Need help choosing a target market? Use this

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Another “fee raising” success story

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I spoke to another attorney yesterday who told me that, at my urging, he increased his fees approximately 40% and has received no resistance. His fees were low to begin with, he said, but this has emboldened him to increase his fees even further.

He said the top of the market is still 70% higher than his new fee, and we talked about what he would need to do to justify another increase.

You don’t have to be the top of the market, I told him, but you should at least be in the top one-third to 20%.

But don’t be so quick to dismisss “top of the market” fees. Why couldn’t you be the most expensive guy in town?

You could. The question is how.

Much of marketing is about perception. To some extent, you’re worth more because you say you are. Who’s to say any different?

Your lower-priced competitors, you say? See, that’s where you’re missing the boat. There is no competition at the top of the market. It’s at the lower 80% of the market where everyone does pretty much the same thing and competes on price and good looks.

If you’re mucking about in steerage, you’ll never maximize your potential.

But there is a limit to how much more you can charge simply because you want to charge more. You’ve got to find something you do better or different than other lawyers, and make that a point of differentiation.

One way to do that is to specialize not only in the services you offer but the clients for whom you perform those services. Choose a niche market to target, focus on it, and groom yourself to become the “go to” lawyer in that niche.

There are big advantages to this strategy. Besides being able to charge higher fees, marketing is easier and more effective. Instead of networking with or advertising to “anyone” who might need your services or be able to refer clients, for example, you can concentrate your efforts on marketing exclusively to prospective clients and referral sources in your niche market.

That’s what this attorney said he will do.

He’ll save time, spend less on advertising (if not eliminate it completely), and develop a name for himself in his niche.

Word of mouth travels fast in niche markets. By next year at this time, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he has indeed become the “go to” lawyer in his market.

Learn more about niche marketing, with this

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Marketing legal services with a rifle, not a shotgun

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Most attorneys use a shotgun in their marketing. They spray marketing pellets far and wide, hoping to hit anything that flies by. Because they aren’t focused, they spend too much time (and money) and are often frustrated with their results.

The most successful attorneys use a rifle in their marketing. They aim at carefully selected prospective clients and referral sources. They may not always hit something, but when they do, the usually win the big prize.

Let’s look at two estate planning attorneys seeking to build their practice through networking.

Attorney number one goes to a networking event at his local Chamber of Commerce. He meets as many people as possible and comes home with 20 or 30 business cards. He sends everyone a “nice to meet you” email and waits to see what happens. And waits. And waits. Because everyone he met is busy, and also marketing with a shotgun, not much happens.

Attorney number two focuses on professionals in the health care industry, so he attends a networking event sponsored by an association of health care professionals. Before he goes, he does some homework. He finds out who will be speaking at the event, and gets a list of the event organizers and committee heads. He Google’s these people’s names, visits their websites, and sets up files on three people he wants to meet at the event. He knows where they work, what they do, and what’s important to them.

At the event, he meets with his chosen three. He takes notes about their conversations. He hits it off with the administrator of a big hospital, in part because they know some of the same people.

The attorney sends follow-up emails to his three. He notes that one belongs to another organization which has a meeting scheduled in two months, and makes a note to ask him if he will be attending that meeting.

The attorney calls a physician he knows whose name came up in his conversation with the hospital administrator. He tells him about his meeting and asks a few questions about the administrator, adding this information to his notes. He says something nice about the administrator.

He does more research on the administrator and his hospital. He finds out which law firms represent the hospital. He subscribes to their newsletters. He does the same thing for the hospital’s insurance brokers, accounting firms, and some of their major suppliers. He sets up Google alerts for these firms and their partners or principals, so he can stay up to date on any news.

He calls the administrator and leaves a voice mail message. He says he enjoyed meeting him and says he spoke to the physician they both know and told him about their meeting. He says the physician said to say hello.

He emails a copy of an article he just wrote for a health care web site to the three people he met at the event. Because he took notes, he is able to add a personal note to each email, mentioning something they talked about at the event.

Okay, you get the idea.

Attorney number two is focused. He doesn’t try to meet everyone, he is selective. He does his homework and he follows up. And because he’s not “targeting” everyone, he has the time to do it.

Attorney number one may get some business from his Chamber of Commerce network. But attorney number two is networking with heavy-duty centers of influence in a niche market. Because he specializes in that market, those centers of influence will notice him and eventually, provide him with referrals and introductions to other centers of influence in that market.

Marketing legal services with a shot gun can make you a living. Marketing with a rifle can make you rich.

Want help choosing the right niche market for your practice? Get this.

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